Al and Martha Driver – the Community Service Award honorees – have spent years applying their education, expertise, and intellect to diverse organizations and causes. Martha, a former investment officer at Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and owner of an investment banking firm, and Al, a general counsel at J. C. Penney Co., retired from their day jobs in the 1980s and spent the next 22 years working side by side. In 1992, they founded The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, a monthly newspaper distributed nationally to 25,000 corporate counsel. With Martha as publisher and Al as editor, the public service project provided in-house lawyers with information from law firms and legal reform organizations to assist in their legal practices.
Martha has served on the boards of Overlook Medical Center and the Overlook Foundation, as well as her alma mater, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, and the Memorial Endowment Trust of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield. Al has shared his legal expertise with members of the nationally prestigious Business Roundtable and is actively involved in community discussion groups on issues of local, state, and national importance.
Dr. Walter Groff – the Medical Service Award honoree – rotated through Overlook during his surgical residency and returned there to stay in 1984. During the ensuing years, he helped Overlook develop a reputation as a leader in conquering colorectal diseases through minimally invasive surgery, advanced treatment protocols, and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
Dr. Groff also was instrumental in financing and creating Overlook’s GI motility lab, which helped diagnose and treat problems of the gastrointestinal tract. Collaborating with his peers in oncology, he helped introduce preoperative radiation and chemotherapy prior to rectal cancer surgery, which has dramatically reduced local recurrence.
In 2009, a shared love for Overlook and the future of health care inspired Dr. Groff and his wife of 37 years, Patricia, who is a former nurse, to create the Dorothy and Edward Brill & Muriel and Donald Groff, M.D. Scholarship Fund, named in memory of their parents. The fund provides financial assistance to Overlook employees who want to pursue a degree in nursing.
Linda Smith and Diane Swett – the Volunteer Service Award honorees – are both longtime Summit residents and longtime volunteers. When they met at a Junior League meeting, they were young stay-at-home mothers trying to make a difference in their communities. Now, decades later, they continue to make a difference at Overlook as patient relations volunteers.
Since her first volunteer assignment in the hospital coffee shop, Linda has joined Summit Twig 30 and performed a variety of duties, including bringing the gift cart to patients’ rooms, transporting patients to tests, and serving as a messenger. She was one of the first to sign up as a patient relations volunteer when the program began in the 1980s.
Also beginning her volunteer service in patient relations some 30 years ago, Diane is active in Short Hills Twig 27 and, as a co-president of the Auxiliary, serves on both the hospital and foundation boards of trustees.
The Glasser Foundation – the Foundation Service Award recipient – was created by Gerald J. Glasser, Ph.D., a philanthropic leader, valued trustee, and former chairman of the Overlook Foundation board. Just days later, when his son, Thomas, tragically perished in the September 11 attacks, Gerry named the foundation in his memory. Since then, the foundation has provided financial support to numerous health care, social service, educational, cultural, youth, and faith-based organizations throughout New Jersey and beyond.
At Overlook, Gerry developed and endowed the Thomas Glasser Lecture series which, since 2005, has featured presentations by renowned speakers on topics concerning health and the public interest. He also served as a leader in the development and funding of the Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center, the only hospital-based center of its kind in the state dedicated to helping caregivers effectively manage the stress of caring for critically, chronically, or terminally ill loved ones.
In Gerry’s hometown of Westfield, the foundation provided start-up capital and annual support for Imagine, a center offering grief education and training, as well as an endowment for Contact We Care volunteers, who staff this statewide suicide prevention organization and crisis hotline. Since Gerry’s passing in 2013, his family has carried on his legacy of caring through the renamed Glasser Foundation.